Supplements Prevention Nutrition

Because people rarely get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need from the foods they eat, taking a daily multivitamin and/or dietary supplement may be essential to staying healthy. With the fast-paced nature of modern-day life, taking the time to prepare nutritious meals is often compromised, forcing many to eat fast food and make unhealthy food choices.

Other reasons people don’t get the nutrients and vitamins they need include the following:

  • Many of us just want to indulge in a delicious treat that we know isn’t good for us.
  • Some people make bad food choices because they simply can’t afford healthier food options, given that organic foods tend to be more expensive.
  • Some people suffer from underlying diseases and/or conditions that prevent our bodies from being able to properly extract nutrients from foods.

Regardless of the reason, the fact is that most people don’t get enough of the vitamins they need. While the body can balance out the occasional vitamin deficiency, if vitamin deficiencies persist for years, people can be at risk of developing serious health problems.

Conditions Caused by Vitamin Deficiencies

Here is a list of some of the common conditions caused by a lack of vitamin intake:

  • Vitamin A deficiencies cause nyctalopia (the inability to see in the dark or at night) and, if left untreated, eye infections, respiratory tract infections and blindness.
  • Vitamin B deficiencies cause severe inflammation, abdominal pain and, in some cases, seizures. Overtime, a lack of vitamin B can damage the central nervous system (CNS), causing hallucinations and dementia.
  • Vitamin C deficiencies cause joint pain, insomnia, nausea and depression.
  • Vitamin D deficiencies cause irritability, and over time softens the bones, making these people more susceptible to bone breaks.
  • Vitamin E deficiencies cause general swelling, skin lesions and muscle weakness.
  • Vitamin K deficiencies make it difficult for the body to coagulate blood (form a scab) to stop excessive bleeding. A lack of vitamin K can be extremely serious, causing hemophilia and possibly death if bleeding isn’t stopped.

Keep in mind that the above list of health complications caused by vitamin deficiencies is by no means comprehensive. A lack of a number of other nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus and selenium, can also cause serious health problems.

Similarly, each individual reacts differently to vitamin deficiencies, depending on his or her age, race and overall health. While vitamin deficiencies may cause severe problems in one person, others can go on for years enduring minor symptoms. However, given enough time, vitamin deficiencies will eventually cause serious, irreversible damage.

Illness Prevention with Vitamin Supplements

Given the consequences of vitamin deficiencies, taking a daily multivitamin and taking other dietary supplements is key to staying healthy and warding off serious health complications. If you are thinking about starting a vitamin regimen or want to change your current supplement, be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Your current age, gender, race and general health status will determine what nutrients and vitamins you need or don’t need to get. For example, while a pre-menopausal woman will need to up her calcium and vitamin B intake, a man of the same age will need to increase his vitamin D and vitamin K intake. As a result, the elderly woman will strengthen her bones and ward off osteoporosis, as the man boosts his immune system function.

Also, keep in mind that you will need to inform your doctor if you are currently taking prescription medication, as he can suggest multivitamins and dietary supplements with minimal or no side effects.

Resource

Wrong Diagnosis (updated October 9, 2007). Vitamin Deficiencies. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from the Wrong Diagnosis Web site: http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/v/vitamin/intro.htm.